An initiative that the company calls DECollege was launched yesterday by DEC UK Ltd in an effort to counteract what it sees as a serious threat of manpower and skills shortages in the Information Technology sector. It has a budget of over UKP1m this year to manage both internal and external development programmes, and will review the figure next year. The UKP1m is over and above the UKP10m the Reading-based subsidiary will spend on employee training this year. The programme is aimed at three potential sources of trainees: schools; further education establishments; and the unemployed, those made redundant, and people not actively seeking employment, such as mothers who are considering a return to work. It intends to spend 20% of its resources on school projects reaching children up to the age of 16, approximately 50% on further education including Youth Training Schemes, and the balance on the unemployed. It hopes the internal programme will encourage cross-functional development, broadening the horizons of employees, as well as producing high quality entrants. It also has what it terms a fast track programme to help high flyers. Externally, DEC will be encouraging its people to go out to schools using presentation materials to put across the Information Technology message. Indestrialists will be sent out with the help of the Understanding Industry charitable trust, which negotiate with schools to set aside 12 hours every eight weeks for pupils to work with them. DEC are now working with the Southern Schools Group to introduce Information Technology modules into the syllabi of GCSE exams. DEC says it currently employs around 60 youngsters un-der the Youth Training Scheme, and says typically 50% are subsequently given full-time employment at DEC. Next summer it hopes to take on another 100.